Greece wants an explanation from the International Monetary Fund after leaked document surfaces

 
James Nickerson
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Eurozone Finance Ministers Demand Greater Scrutiny Of Greek Budget Cuts
The IMF anticipates a possible Greek default coinciding with the EU referendum (Source: Getty)

Greece has demanded an explanation from the International Monetary Fund after a leaked document stated the IMF may threaten to pull out of the country's bailout in order to make European lenders offer more debt relief.

The demand comes after WikiLeaks announced it had details of a meeting between two top IMF officials where it was stated that the IMF could leave the troika if it can't reach an agreement with the European Commission on Greek debt relief.

WikiLeaks also said that the IMF anticipates a possible Greek default coinciding with the United Kingdom's referendum on whether it should leave the European Union.

"The Greek government asks the IMF for explanations whether pursuing the creation of bankruptcy conditions in Greece, just before the British referendum, is the Fund's official position," government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili told state TV.

The conversation reportedly involved head of IMF's Europe department Poul Thomsen and Delia Velculescu, leader of the IMF team in Greece.

The discussion included talk of whether more austerity could be forced on Greece ahead of repayments in July.

The IMF and EU leaders are scheduled to resume talks in Athens on Greece's progress next week.

Thomsen reportedly said that the Greeks "are not even getting close [to coming] around to accept[ing] our views."

Velkouleskou replied that "if [the Greek government] get pressured enough, they would... But they don't have any incentive and they know that the Commission is willing to compromise, so that is the problem."

But the conversation also appeared to hint at the prospect of pushing Germany to accept more debt relief. Thomsen is quoted as having said: "Look you, Mrs. Merkel, you face a question: you have to think about what is more costly, to go ahead without the IMF--would the Bundestag say 'The IMF is not on board?', or [to] pick the debt relief that we think that Greece needs in order to keep us on board?"

The IMF issued a statement in reply to the leaked document.

It said: "We do not comment on leaks or supposed reports of internal discussions. We have stated clearly what we think is needed for a durable solution to the economic challenges facing Greece--one that puts Greece on a path of sustainable growth supported by a credible set of reforms matched by debt relief from its European partners."

"The needed reforms and targets need to be based on credible assumptions. As we have said, there is a trade off between what is feasible on reforms and the amount of debt relief needed," it added.

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